Friday, December 23, 2011

The 12 Days of Christmas: Day 9 - Night Snow

This is a variation of some nails I did a while ago, for the first snow.

Night Snow: China Glaze Up All Night with Nubar White Polka Dot

I liked it so much over grey that I had to try White Polka Dot over a navy blue. China Glaze Up All Night is one of my FAVORITE dark blue polishes because it always looks blue and not black, but it's nice and deep and dark. This reminded me of when it snows at night and you can see all the snowflakes against the dark night sky. I prefer it with only one coat of glitter (shown), but two looks nice as well.

I know a lot of nail bloggers are obsessed with black glitter, and I wanted to be too (as it turns out, I don't really like it much... but I love the new charcoal grey glitter from Deborah Lippmann... i think that's what I always WANT black glitter to look like). Instead, I'm so in love with white glitter. All of the white glitter I've seen is a silvery pearl white, and it's SO pretty. This one and Lynnderella's Snow Angel are perfect examples of awesome white glitters!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The 12 Days of Christmas Nails: Day 8 - Christmas Glitter

So I decided to go crazy and combine my two favorite Christmas glitters: China Glaze Twinkle Lights and Party Hearty!

China Glaze Twinkle Lights w/ Party Hearty

I LOVE this combination so much. It is SO blingy and blinding! It's not quite as yellow as it shows in the pictures, because they were taken in very low lighting. It's more of a soft gold color in person, and super shiny and sparkly. Needless to say, this was the biggest pain in the butt to take off... glitter EVERYWHERE!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Black Knight Franken: Mid Knight

Sometimes I like frankening just to attempt to dupe something. I don't know what it is, but I do it with other things to (I like to try and replicate movie costumes that are as screen accurate as possible - I have an Elizabeth Swann dress, a Hogwarts school uniform, and I made Chief an authentic Obi-Wan jedi tunic).

I didn't even LIKE Butter London's Black Knight very much, but as soon as I saw it I thought "that looks like Rockstar Pink with a black jelly base!" so I HAD to try it.

Mid Knight - my BL Black Knight Franken-dupe

Unfortunately, I don't have the original to compare the two (in fact, the whole point of frankening it was to avoid paying $25 for the set). However, I think it looks close compared to Scrangie's swatches. In fact, Scrangie's post made me run off to ebay to buy the other half of the collection, Tart with a Heart, just to go with my franken... oh well.

The best part about this??  It is SOOOO easy to make at home!  I started with a base of China Glaze Liquid Leather (about half the bottle), and added in Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Rockstar Pink.  Because it didn't have quite enough blue in it, I added a little tiny bit of OPI Absolutely Alice.  The only one of those that isn't readily available is the OPI, but it is easily substitutable with another fine blue glitter like Pure Ice Strapless.  So there you have it - a cheap, easy way to get the Black Knight look!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The 12 Days of Christmas Nails: Day 7 - Golden Snow

I really wanted to do some type of snowflake nails, and here they are!  I was going to do silver snowflakes right up until the last minute when I switched it to gold.  And I'm glad I did.

Golden Snowflakes - Essie Marshmallow stamped with China Glaze 2030

Heehee, the name is supposed to be somewhat funny - just remember, seriously, to never eat golden (yellow) snow!! Now, I'm not very good at stamping, but I don't even care if the snowflakes didn't come out perfect. I call this a success. It just makes me smile and think of a beautiful winter.

For good measure, here is a picture of Essie Marshmallow on it's own, because this is how I wore it for two days before stamping it (it was taken in low lighting so it's a tiny bit blurry):

Essie - Marshmallow

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

KKcenterHK Foil Nail Decals Review

After trying out their French tip water decals, KKcenterHK sent me a couple more of their nail decals to review. These here are some of their foil decals:

I liked this design because it looked very "holiday" to me. It even kinda looks Dr. Seuss-ish - like wrapping paper you'd see in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I'm not sure why it's listed under "flags," but it is. Here is the link to the product itself: M032

These applied like most other nail patches, except with these I had a bit of trouble with wrinkling. For the most part they look nice, and it's only up very close that you can even see the wrinkles. The photos show the gold parts as being a bit lime green, and they do show that color at some angles, but for the most part, the "ribbons" just look like a soft gold.

So here's the deal: they went on perfectly on some fingers (like my ring and pinky) and not so well on the others.  The difference is that my ring and pinky are "flatter" from cuticle to tip, like this:

My other fingers (middle, pointer, and thumb) are all more curved and that caused the foils to wrinkle up a bit.  See the curve?

The bottom line is, if your nails are nice and straight from cuticle to tip, then these will probably work very well for you.  However, if your nails are curved like some of mine are, then they'll most likely end up with a few little wrinkles on each nail.

That said, if you can handle the wrinkles, these would be pretty awesome for a Christmas party or a night out.  The package claims 11 days of wear (I don't know if I believe that, because the wrinkles keep them from sticking down tightly), but I don't know if I could handle them for everyday wear anyway.  The thing that bothered me the most was the feel of the tips when I put my hands in my pocket - it was kind of a weird scratchy feeling. 

Also a note:  Once I realized they were wrinkling, I tried using heat from a hair dryer to make them a little more elastic, and it seemed to help if I held the heat on right after applying it, before pushing all the edges down.  But it didn't help entirely.

Overall, I think these are pretty cool, but only really for a special occasion, not for everyday wear.  For pretty designs on my nails all the time, I'll go for Incoco or Sally Hansen Salon Effects (I have GREAT success with the 100% nail polish strips).

If you want to try these or any other nail decals, they can be found at KKcenterHK's website.

(These were sent to me for review.)

The 12 Days of Christmas Nails: Day 6 - Gold Gradient

This is one of my favorites so far from my 12 Days of Christmas Nails. It's a simple French gradient made with OPI's Bring on the Bling.

10 - Pinky Promise sponged with OPI Bring on the Bling

Bring on the Bling has always been one of my most favorite polishes. It's an awesome gold glitter with tons of multicolor glitter as well, and we all know how I love gold glitter. I feel like I've done this before, but I don't think I have - I've only gone it over red or just straight gold French tips (both shown here).  I actually did put a simple French tip in Orly Luxe underneath the glitter so I didn't have any bald spots, but I don't really know if it was necessary.  However, Liquid Palisade helps ENORMOUSLY on cleanup if you put it on the edges of your finger under the tip (since it's easy to accidentally sponge some glitter there).

So I have a confession. Some of these "12 Days of Christmas Nails" manicures are really only "swatches" (only four of my fingers are actually painted), like the present one yesterday. And I started this one off the same way. When I was sponging on the gold, it looked really dull and not very, so I figured "eh, another dud... I'll just take some pictures then move on to the next thing." Well, in this case I ended up putting on the top coat and my whole opinion changed and I put it on all the rest of my fingers for a full manicure!

Oh, I also wanted to share something with you. I got an email from a skin care company in Canada called ASK Cosmetics that's hosting a huge giveaway (their entire line!). If you want, you can check out all of the details and guidelines for entering on their facebook page here: It runs until Dec 22nd.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The 12 Days of Christmas Nails: Day 5 - Presents!

First, a warning: I am NOT good at freehand nail art. But I REALLY wanted presents on my nails, so I bit the bullet and tried it. It actually turned out better than I thought it would, but still not perfect. I think I need to invest in some acrylic paints or something, because nail polish just doesn't work very well with a striping brush.

So here it is, the fifth day of the 12 Days of Christmas Nails: Presents!

I used quite a few polishes in this one because I wanted to give each present a subtle metallic wrapping-paper look. Unfortunately, it was TOO subtle and almost invisible on most nails. Oh well, next time I'll probably just use a simple metallic or creme base under the ribbons.

The base on the pinky is Rescue Beauty Lounge Dead Calm, with China Glaze Little Drummer Boy stamped on top.  The base for the ring finger is CG Urban Night stamped with New York Summer Poppies.  The base for the middle is American Apparel Hunter stamped with CG Gussied Up Green, and the pointer is Essie Berry Hard stamped with Rimmel Lava Red.  All of the ribbons are done with CG 2030.

Although I'd considered doing some present nails from the start, it was Sammy's design that really made me decide on it.  Remember, you can check out all of her designs here if you've missed any.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Perfect Rainy-Day Grey: Zoya Dove

Today is a rainy, grey day in Tempe, AZ, so I was craving a nice dreary grey polish to go with it. This is Zoya Dove, and it's a perfect fit.

Zoya - Dove

This applied nicely in two thin coats and is a nice neutral, shiny grey creme. I was considering putting Lynnderella Snow Angel on top of it, but right now I'm just enjoying it by itself.

The 12 Days of Christmas Nails: Day 4 - Red and Green Matte

Time for the fourth holiday manicure of the season!  Remember to check out all of Sammy's here - she has more intricate nail art ones than I do, and they are AWESOME!

Some people say the "every other finger" type of manicure is one you'd do only as a kid, but I love the combination of red and green too much and had to try it with my Zoya Matte polishes.

 Zoya Veruschka and Zoya Posh

Simple, but pretty, I think.  I love these two matte colors, and together it's just the epitome of Christmas.  both are really rich and deep, and I think the matte finish tones down the tacky "alternating colors" manicure.

For a twist, I decided to put some shiny French tips on with my Zoya Armour top coat.  It's not quite as shiny as some of my quick dry polishes, so I would probably use one of those next time I tried this.  Also, I would have liked the tips to be skinnier.

Btw, I forgot to mention that the reason I hadn't posted in a week was because I was in Hawaii!  I'd never been there before, and it was a blast!  However, while we were there, it just didn't feel like the Christmas season, so I'm glad to be back and feeling the holidays once more.  Anyway, I'm going to be playing catch-up a little more to get my 12 holiday manicures by Christmas!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The 12 Days of Christmas Nails: Day 3 - Spice Drops

This was a manicure I had in mind since Mrs. Claus and Mistletoe Kisses came out last year in China Glaze's holiday collection. I wanted them to look like various flavors of spice drops (you know, the ones you decorate gingerbread houses with?). So here they are!

Spice Drops - CND Sugar Sparkle over various bases

For the bases, I used CG Grape Juice, CG Mistletoe Kisses, CG Mrs. Claus, Ulta Sun-sational, and Revlon Powder Puff, then I topped each with two coats of CND Sugar Sparkle.  This is what I was going for:

I love these candies, but only the ones that are flavored like spices (not fruits).  If you haven't had them, you should try them!  Some of the flavors are anise (purple), spearmint (green), peppermint (white), and cinnamon (red).  I can't remember what the orange and yellow ones are...  ginger might be one?

Do you have any favorite Christmas candies?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The 12 Days of Christmas Nails: Day 2 - Frosty Night

This is my second holiday manicure for the 12 Days of Christmas Nails (check out all of Sammy's designs so far here)!

I think this one looks like a snowy winter night.

Snowy Winter Night - Misa Dance Fever sponged over China Glaze Little Drummer Boy

I've never been too successful with sponging, but I think it all depends on what kind of polish you use for it. This glitter, Misa Dance Fever, was the perfect density for the sponging and it was actually pretty quick and easy! Also, I've heard that this type of gradient has a killer cleanup, so I put Liquid Palisade around my cuticles. I basically had NO cleaup at all! It worked so well! I've never been able to create neat design using Palisade, but it does seem perfect for avoiding cuticle cleanup from messy types of manicures (if I ever try water marbling or splattering, I will SURELY use this again!).

I topped it all off with China Glaze Fast Foward top coat, which has some shrinkage issues like Seche Vite, so that's why the blue shows around the cuticle edge and there's a bit of shrinkage at the tips.

I love this and want to try in in different colors now! I think a glossy black base with gold glitter would look really classy!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Milani Jewel FX Re-swatches

I swatched these last year, but since then I've acquired two more and I wanted to show them all together.

Here are all of the Milani Jewel FX polishes:

Milani Jewel FX - Gold

This one feels so very Christmasy because of the rich mirror-like gold finish. Granted, this look is a bit of a PITA to achieve. This is two "coats." For the first coat, I sort of just dabbed on the glitter and tried to push it around to form nice edges, and the second coat was more or less brushed on with a little coaxing here and there. But the effect is wonderful!

I did have an issue with wear on this one though. When I wore it for a full mani, it ended up peeling of in sheets pretty much the next night. Oh well.

I've seen this one at Target even recently, so it's readily available.

Milani Jewel FX - Silver

Such a beautiful simple silver. VERY shiny mirror-like finish that would be perfect for New Years Eve!

This one is a bit harder to find. You can order it from Cherry Culture and from Milani's site directly, but I've never seen it in stores. Still, it's totally worth it.

Milani Jewel FX - Gems (w/ purple)

I believe that this is the most common version of Gems. I'm pretty sure it's the closest dupe I've seen to Deborah Lippmann's Happy Birthday (see this comparison). Very pretty, but it's not my favorite of the bunch.

Milani Jewel FX - Gems (no purple)

This, however, IS my favorite of them all. I LOVE this color combination for some reason. It feels like Christmas toys to me, and it reminds me of a train around the tree or of a nutcracker.  Last year, I wore this on my toes for Christmas and I decided that if I had to wear this one polish on my toes for the rest of my life, I'd be perfectly happy.

I wish so badly that I could find another bottle of this without the purple, but I haven't seen one like this since the first release of the collection I found at CVS. I actually like my swatch from last year better because it shows off the colors more.

So there you have them... ALL of the Milani Jewel FX polishes. All of them are shown at two "coats" (one "placement" coat and one coat brushed on almost like normal). They really are stunning, even if they are a pain to put on and take off. So fitting for the holidays!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The 12 Days of Christmas Nails: Day 1 - Christmas Tree Nails

I'm borrowing an idea from Sammy over at The Nailasaurus called "The 12 Days of Christmas Nails" (hopefully she doesn't mind, but I just love it)! The idea is to create 12 different holiday themed manicures between now and Christmas. Since there are 24 days left 'til Christmas, that's about one manicure every other day, which seems pretty reasonable to me!

So here it is! Day 1: Christmas Tree Nails!

Christmas Tree V2.0 - China Glaze Emerald Sparkle and Milani Gems

I actually did a Christmas tree-inspired manicure a year ago (almost to the date!) which you can check out here. I loved that one, but this time I wanted more of a "shiny ornaments" look. I used China Glaze Emerald Sparkle as a base (2 coats), and put one coat of Milani Gems over it. This bottle of Gems has the purple glitter in it (I will actually have a comparison post tomorrow for you on the Milani Jewel FX polishes).

You know what I think would make this even better?  A layer of Zoya Rina to look like pine needles!  Unfortunately, my Rina is at my parents' house right now, so I didn't have it for this.  I DO plan on doing a "snow and pine needles" look with it once I get it back though!


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